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Archive for August, 2012

Have you seen the show, Breaking Bad???  Breaking Bad is one of my favorites.  I find the main character, Walter White, very interesting.  Walter White doesn’t know any martial art; however, he has incredible survival instincts and a brilliant mind. When Walter is confronted by life threatening situations, he survives. I think there is a life lesson here.  In a conflict, along with a little  luck, the most alert mind and the right choices wins the fight.  Life is really about minute to minute choices.

Getting back to the Gracie Jiu Jitsu practice, during independent review time, I try to review the fight sequence;  like a story, a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Ironically, the same steps you would take in writing a story or an article.   I think a fuller explanation helps in the learning process.  Thus, there should be a quick pre fight explanation, the fundamental move, and the consequence of the action.

My fear of practicing incorrectly and  passing my mistake onto a white belt almost occurred this week; however, a higher ranking belt saw this mistake as it occurred and stepped in.  I had my hands positioned wrong on a choke hold.  I missed this important detail.   We were learning  the collar tag choke.  When the hand reaches in, then the other to the collar tag, both index fingers should be touching.  I didn’t do that.  I couldn’t see the instructors hand grip very well.  My mistake was just going with my thumb.

Again, I have been trying to avoid this, I paired up with a guy that had 75 lbs over me.   I’m around 165 lbs and my practice partner was around 240 lbs. We were practicing a throw, standing arm lock choke from behind.   He was having trouble controlling his body, over weight.  He threw me over his shoulder.  I immediately learned a much bigger body mass, has a lot more momentum.  I shot threw the air. In this scenario, if I am getting thrown by a heavy weight, I should just relax and worry about my fall technique.

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Commitment. I can’t think of my commitment to jiu jitsu beyond the next class. When I do think to far ahead, I worry that I may not be able to do it for the next seven years. I’m going to be honest, this is tough. I get frustrated because life isn’t a straight line. There are other commitments, family and work. I really wanted to go to jiu jitsu this week but because of my kids, last week of summer vacation, no summer camp, and illiness of my daughter, I had to stay home.

When I am there, at the dojo, I leave all my problems in the parking lot, and focus on the practice. For that hour I’m there, I am thankful to not think of bills, bad relationships, debt, and other issues. Since I work at home, I have an opportunity to chat. Before, I was spending a lot of time in isolation.

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In the practice of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, there is always something to work upon. Always!  Since I joined, I was able to learn the frame-work of the fundamentals of self-defense but I am lacking the complete details in the moves.   There are lots and lots of details.  As a blue belt, if I were to leave and not return to the study of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, I do have the basic self-defense lessons in my subconscious mind.  Even though I am a blue belt, I don’t feel that I have mastered the lessons. So, at least until October, I am focused on fundamentals of self-defense, no sparring nor randori; well, maybe a little randori, a.k.a., throwing class sparring.

The hardest part in my Gracie Jiu Jitsu study is showing up.  I still have a lot of social anxiety; however, I have made some friends which has steadied  my nerves a bit.  I am trying to talk more. Open up.  Since I joined, I have worked out with a lot different people.  As a general rule, in any conflict, I want to have a relaxed mind and body.  I am the first to admit that to have a relaxed mind and body in a conflict is not an easy task. One of the reasons I study Jiu Jitsu is to help me control my emotions.

Before I started studying Gracie Jiu Jitsu, I did intense spinning classes, but when the expert teachers resigned, the gym hired instructors of not the same level.   I didn’t want to do spinning anymore.  A few weeks ago, I noticed there was a bike rack at the dojo. I was able to get my bike working after not riding my bike for a year and a half.  The Floridian humidity and Atlantic Ocean salty air did its damage on my bike.  So, riding my rusted out bike to class has satisfied my desire for spinning classes. I’m getting exercise and saving gas money.

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It’s review time, Wednesday. I’m working on closing the distance, getting safely from a boxing match to clinching my opponent, except I’m the attacker, a boxer.  I slowly circled the opponent with my fists up.    After a few warm ups,  I warned my practice partner that I was really attempting a strike.  He said, ” Do it.”  I saw his chin up.  With my right arm and fist, I lunged forward while throwing the punch at his chin.  I completely missed him.  In a second, I felt my opponent crash into me.   Next, I’m falling to the mat.  We drilled closing the distance, me, as the attacker, ten more times.  All the same result. I asked my opponent, ” How do you know I’m getting ready to throw the punch?”  He responded, ” First, empty your mind.  Then, look at everything, don’t focus on one area.”   He then showed me that I was slightly moving my right shoulder just before I threw the punch.

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